Thursday, January 19, 2017

Texas man jailed for possession of cat litter

Man jailed for 3 days after Texas cops confuse cat litter for meth • The Register - Alexander J. Martin:

January 9, 2017 - "Spare a thought for Ross LeBeau, who spent three days in jail when Texas cops confused cat litter for methamphetamine during a routine traffic stop....

"The Houston man had been stashing almost half a pound (220g) of cat litter in a sock in his car in the hope of stopping his windows fogging up, but in December two separate roadside field tests both gave false positives on the litter for meth.

"LeBeau got nicked and the cops of Harris County Sheriff's Office sent out a press release, including a mugshot, bragging of what they thought was the bust of the year, and claiming the arrest 'may have kept our children and loved ones free from being introduced to drugs.'

"The suspect was in jail for three days before a more thorough testing procedure in a laboratory identified that the suspected methamphetamine was in fact kitty litter.

"According to LeBeau's attorney, George Reul, LeBeau does not blame the arresting deputies, but the roadside tests which provided false positives....

"Houston has been at the centre of a scandal regarding the $2 roadside drug tests, which have been alleged to be sending tens of thousands of folk to jail on an annual basis, despite their proclivity for producing false positives.

"An article by ProPublica in conjunction with The New York Times Magazine, which looked at the issue at length, stated: 'Widespread evidence shows that these tests routinely produce false positives. Why are police departments and prosecutors still using them?'"

Read more:
'via Blog this'


  1. One more time the government protecting us has hurt people instead. * sighs *

  2. You know, I thought this was funny when I first read it; but then I read (and linked) the ProPublica article that was mentioned, and it's not funny anymore. According to the article, in the U.S. 95% of such cases get plea-bargained - meaning the suspect pleads guilty to a lesser charge, and there is no trial - and in more than 60% of those cases the samples are never tested in a lab. in Houston (where everything was tested, even though there's no legal requirement to do so after a conviction), an investigation launched in 2014 found more than 200 cases of wrongful convictions based on false positives and guilty pleas.

  3. Not to mention sending "out a press release, including a mug shot" without bothering with a trial. But I guess I can understand that: proving charges is to tedious and inconvenient...